Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Wangled another night at the murmuration

SOMEHOW I managed to wangle another night watching the starlings with my beloved; I know - I must have done something good in a past life)!  We had been to Burnham-on-sea, as we had a yearning to see beach and sea - which we did, and this was on the route back - well sort of!

Burnham has a huge sandy (and muddy) expansive beach, which was being enjoyed by lots of people with their lively dogs:

On the Levels the evening was again perfectly still, clear and cold, but the starlings behaved quite differently from yesterday, in that the gathered into one large group before us, rather than spreading out.

As usual, though, they did chatter and fidget once down, moving en masse to a new spot after a while.  We left them as the light faded.  If you get a chance to go do, as its really worth the effort.


I counted the birds and came to the conclusion that there were lots...

Monday, 29 December 2014

Ham Wall Starling murmuraton

THE starlings were wonderful tonight at Ham Wall RSPB reserve in Somerset - there were thousands and thousands, but they were generally far off, in small groups or elsewhere!  

That did not stop us enjoying the calm, bright and cold evening along with many others.  As usual nature was not predictable...there were no tight massing of birds - as they flew in a settled quickly, so these images are just to get a sense of the place and the scale of the flocks:


Monday, 22 December 2014

New Zealand

WE'VE been away!  We went to NZ for 18 days with a stop over in Hong Kong; needless to say we had a fabulous time in both places.  There was more opportunity to see wildlife in NZ, as we spent most of our time in the city in HK.

NZ is either farming or wild country (plus towns and a few cities of course).  It has wonderful, huge and empty beaches, great glacial lakes and mountains, rolling pasture, wild rivers (some out of glaciers) and air so clear and clean its hard to believe.  The oceans around it are teaming with big wildlife - whales, dolphins, seals and seal-lions, loads of fabulous pelagic birds, to name but a few.

In no particular order I'll post somes images - starting with the very photogenic nesting gannets at Muriwai on the coast, west of Auckland; they are such characters.  Most were sitting on eggs, but a handful of chicks had hatched and looked little helpless, fluffy reptiles that had been sat on!


Unfortunately the successfulness of the gannets has been at the expense of the terns which have been pushed onto small sloping areas and whose numbers have recently dropped.

The introduced starlings have developed a taste for the nectar of the New Zealand flax flowers.

The yellow hammer seems to have less brown on the head than ours, but is an introduced species too.